I've gotten a few emails protesting that the furor over the Eagles bringing back Michael Vick for a year is overblown, that behind a horrible offensive line in 2012, Vick really wasn't all that terrible.
True, sure, as far as it goes. There are two reasons for the widespread dismay: Vick's concussion-marred, turnover-plagued 2012 followed a very similar 2011, behind a much better offensive line (the excuse then was the lockout), so most of us figured we had seen pretty much all we needed to see of the soon-to-be-33-year-old QB, and, maybe more significant, bringing back Vick means Chip Kelly can't be all that enthused about giving Nick Foles a year to see what he can do.
It's easy to say, "well, Foles doesn't move well, so he can't run Kelly's offense," and consign Foles to the dustbin. It sure looks like that is what is happening, although offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur talked Monday about an approach flexible enough to encompass the talents of both Vick and Foles.
A few weeks ago, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com crunched some numbers on Foles' rookie season. Roob found that Foles' 60.8 percent completion percentage is fifth in NFL history among rookie QBs, behind some pretty notable figures -- Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan. Foles' average of 243 yards passing a game ranks third all-time, behind Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, neither of whom completed 60 percent of their passes as a rookie. Thus, Foles is the only NFL rookie, ever, to average more than 240 yards while completing at least 60 percent of his passes. (You could argue that Marc Bulger did this with the Rams in 2002, but he was not technically a rookie, having been on the roster behind Kurt Warner for two years, not playing.)
Foles threw an interception once every 53 attempts. In NFL history, only one rookie QB has had a better ratio, RGIII last season, one every 78.6 atempts.
So, since last time I looked, no quarterback ever won the Super Bowl with his feet, I was kinda looking forward to seeing what Foles could do this season. Am I certain he is a franchise QB? No. That's where the "this season" part comes in. I don't think the Eagles are winning the Super Bowl this year, whether Foles, Vick, Norm Van Brocklin or Peyton Manning is the QB. If Vick somehow manages to play, say, 14 games (you know he isn't playing 16), maybe they can go 8-8, if lots of other stuff falls into place.
Big whoop. Say you go 8-8, then what? Are you positioned to draft a franchise QB in 2014? Almost certainly not. Have you built anything for the future with Vick at the helm? Absolutely not.
I don't know Kelly well, obviously, but many of the "competitions" for a starting positiion I've seen that involved a guy making at least $7.5 million a year and a guy making $500,000 have been suspiciously weighted in one direction. The Eagles aren't paying Vick a $3.5 million signing bonus this April to trade him, or even to have him watch Foles from the sideline.
But if the Eagles don't trade Foles, and don't draft a franchise QB, maybe all Foles has to do is wait for Vick to eventually get hurt to get the chance Foles should be getting, right from the get-go, to show he is the guy.
Trading Foles at this point could be a huge mistake, unless you were getting back, say, a high second-round pick. I would guess there will be teams asking; plenty of people in the NFL understand that Super Bowls tend to be won with a quarterback's arm and head, not with his feet.